Monday, June 11, 2012

Last Days in Paris

We bought a Paris Museum Pass and had two days to see all the museums we wanted to see.
The Louvre was first on the list.

Our metro station Arts et Metiers.  
It is decorated like a copper Jules Verne submarine.

Evelyn always knows when our stop is coming up.

At the Louvre.  The Museum Pass lets you skip the line to get in.  Great thing.
Venus de Milo.
It was so crowded.  People were bumping into me constantly.  I know how Venus lost her arms.  Even if you hid in a corner someone would find a way to bump into you.

I was glad to see my old friend Hadrian again.

The Louvre Palace became a museum during the Revolution.

La Joconde aka The Mona Lisa.  You can hardly see her in the background.  I enjoyed the spectacle of all the people in the press with their cameras over their heads taking pictures of something they can't see.
But after being buffeted in that room we had to get out.

Jardin des Tuileries.

We crossed the Seine.

To the Musee d'Orsay.
Much more pleasant to be in.

Monet, Manet, Degas, Caillebotte...
Clementine: "There's only so may naked people you can stand to see."

This was after too many.
The cafe fixed us up--and then it was back to the Louvre.

As our guidebook promised it had emptied out in the evening.
Medusa's head.

Hannibal desecrating the symbols of Rome.
Stepping on the eagle.

The rock that Hammurabi's code is written on.

Assyrian temple statues.

At least they're called epingles in French and often if you switch an initial e in French for an s you'll get something close to the English word.  Like etage to stage or etrange to strange.  So we called them spingles.  

Oldest objet in the museum.  9000 years old.  We appear to it as fleeting shadows.

Some really big Egyptian feet.  
When the kids get tired at a museum I give them a task--find St. Sebastian, or find Adam's skull at the foot of a cross, or, in this case, find a bee hieroglyph.

Clem found St. Sebastian and Adam's skull within minutes.  And the bee in seconds.

Greta found this bee.

Evelyn found this one.

Outside everyone decided to wade in the fountain.
Actually they are walking between two pools.

We had dinner at Au Bascou a few steps from our apartment.  Evelyn must have been inspired by the art.

The next day we set off for the Catacombes de Paris.  Six million of Paris's dead were moved to this ossuary, formerly stone quarries, when the cemetaries were overflowing in the late 18th century.

We had tried on a previous day to go, but were too late.  This morning there were 230 people (or so Mike estimated) in front of us.  

We enjoyed a long chat with Mira and Yonatan in line.

Finally it was our turn.  You go down a long spiral staircase, much farther down than you think you'll go.

First you walk through long quarry tunnels where some quarrymen used their free time well.

At last you reach this sign: Stop: This is the Empire of the Dead.

Stacked skulls and femurs stretch out on both sides.
All the other bones must be deeper in.  
When you look at a wall of femurs and think two per person....
...well, I guess that is what makes it possible to fit 6 million skeletons in here.
There are many cheerful quotations.

"Ils furent ce que nous sommes
Poussière, jouet du vent ;
Fragiles comme des hommes.
Faible comme le néant!"

"They were what we are
Dust, a plaything of the wind
Fragile as men
Feeble as nothing."

Evelyn got to use her Latin.

After we emerged it began to rain.  We walked through Montparnasse Cemetary in search of a creperie.  It really began to pour.  The one we were looking for was closed.  A sudden downpour and wind.  Greta was  crying.  We found a creperie--one we had tried to eat at before, but the wait was too long.

Everyone was restored, and when we came out, the sun was shining. 
We took a ride on Les Vedettes du Pont Neuf.  We've seen Paris from its highest point and lowest points.

Paris's smallest house, tucked between two bigger houses.

Happy again.

The next day we packed up and headed for Burgundy with our friends.
More on that later.


  1. Wouldn't the smallest house always be tucked between two bigger somethings? Just sayin'

  2. Couldn't it stand on its own in the middle of a square? :)